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Japan 2010: Day 03

November 19, 2010

in Japan,Travel

Day 03: 11/04/2010 (Thu) Mitaka, the Ghibli Museum -> Akihabara

This day was one of the Ghibli museum days! Yes, we bought tickets for two days because we knew one day wouldn’t be enough.

TIPS & NOTES:
As I mentioned before, you have to buy tickets for the Ghibli museum in advance. You can buy them either through JTB if you live outside Japan, or buy them at a Lawson (a convenience store) in Japan. If you’re buying them from JTB, make sure to take your passport with you to the Ghibli museum. (They didn’t ask us for our passports the first day but they did the second day so it’s safer to take your passport with you.) For more info about buying tickets for the Ghibli museum outside Japan, check the Ghibli Museum site. (available in English)

We got to Mitaka station pretty early because we wanted to get in the 10:00~10:30 slot. So it won’t get too crowded, the museum lets a certain number of people in only four times a day (10:00~10:30, 12:00~12:30, 2:00~2:30, 4:00~4:30). I’d still avoid weekends or holidays though.

We waited for a bus to the museum in front of Mitaka station. The bus is 200 yen for one way, 300 yen for a round-trip. But I recommend taking the bus on the way there, and walking back to the station. There’s a path Miyazaki named “Kaze no sanpo michi” (Wind’s walkway) from the station to the museum and walking by the quiet residential area in Mitaka is very nice.

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You can't miss this bus stop.

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Here comes the Ghibli bus!!

We took a bus, arrived at the museum and walked in. It was just like walking into a dream. Ghibli themed stained-glass, and interior was made with combination of wood and wrought iron. This was my second time and Derek’s first there. Derek was so impressed by how it wasn’t like a theme park at all. It was just like a classy old European house (or European inspired Japanese house) from Miyazaki’s films. There was a small spiral staircase from the first floor to the third floor, a walkway connects the middle of the second floor, and a huge stained-glass window on the skylight. We don’t have photos of inside the museum as they strictly prohibit taking photos and videos inside. But we took tons of photos outside the building.

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Outside the Ghibli museum

As soon as we got in, we went to line up for Mei and Kitten Bus screening at the Saturn Theater. Even while we were waiting, there were so many things to see all around us, we didn’t mind the wait at all. Then the time came, and we went inside the theater, sat down and the movie started.

I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but it was the most magical and amazing 14 minutes we’ve ever experienced. In fact, it was too much for me to handle that I cried with joy. >_< Derek was doing well up until a certain someone showed up in the film… and he lost it too. We planned this whole trip around this film and our dream has really come true!

EDIT: I decided to add this photo of milk caramel candy for those who are planning to go see Mei and Kitten Bus in the future. (You can find them at a convenience store in Japan.)

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I don't want to spoil it but find & take this caramel candy with you if you're going to see Mei and Kitten Bus at the Ghibli museum :)

Right after the movie, we decided to go up to the rooftop to see the Laputa robot. On the way there, we walked by the HUGE Cat Bus and out on the opening area where they have the spiral staircases to the rooftop.

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Water fountain outside the Cat Bus room

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Details of the water fountain

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She was very busy making noises on the noise maker bench.

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I have a 3-inch model version of this bench.

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Spiral staircase to the rooftop. Our hearts were already pounding.

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And there he was.

We got in the line to take a photo with the Laputa robot and waited for several minutes.

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We were speechless.

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When our turn came, we took a photo of each other. Then we asked the lady behind us to take a photo of us. We walked up to the Laputa robot, and turned around to pose for the photo. That’s when Derek got down on his knee and took out a ring! I just started crying, again. >_<

There were several people in the line and he knew he couldn’t give me a long romantic speech, so he said “I don’t have much time but there’s one thing I want to ask you… Will you marry me?”

I think I said “YES!” before he could finish.

I’m sure the lady with my camera was wondering what the heck was going on. We didn’t want to hold up the line, so after she took some photos of us we quickly got out of the way.

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Yay, we're engaged!

Going to Japan, going to the Ghibli museum and watching Mei and Kitten Bus together was our dream. And on top of that, we got engaged while the Laputa robot watched over us. It was truly the happiest moment of our lives.

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I look like a mess, crying and smiling at the same time... but super happy!

It really was a surprise to me because he was acting so normal the whole time. He later told me how he ordered the ring, had it shipped to his friend and picked it up later.  The engagement ring was a Vivienne Westwood poison ring. He knew I wasn’t old-fashioned (neither were my parents) and I didn’t care for a stone… so he picked the only designer I loved. Vivienne Westwood. I have her armor ring and seal ring, so it was perfect. The ring sticks way out and not practical at all, but everyone said that it was very “me,” and I agree.

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My ring and the Laputa stone.

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I wouldn't be surprised if the museum flew away one day.

After I composed myself, we went to the Ghibli museum shop “Mamma Aiuto!” and got a LOT of stuff! Then we decided to eat at “Mugiwara boushi Cafe” (Straw Hat Cafe) in the museum. There was a long line to get into the cafe so we got “Kaze no tani no beer” (Beer of the Valley of the Wind, :D ) and a cup of ground soy bean and sweet red bean latte from the stand next to the cafe first, and then got in the line.

Straw Hat Cafe stand, at the Ghibli museum, Mitaka, Tokyo
I drank: Ground soy bean with sweet red bean latte (350 yen)
Derek drank: Kaze no tani no beer (600 yen)

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Mugiwara Boshi Cafe stand

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Ground soy bean with sweet red bean latte (350 yen) It tasted just like hot cocoa!

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Kaze no tani no beer (600 yen) Expensive? Not if it's got a label like this and you can take it home as a souvenir.

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They put a little step outside the cafe so kids could see inside the kitchen.

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The faucet on the sink outside the cafe. There was a note that said "Wash your hands before eating."

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Menu at Mugiwara Boshi (Straw Hat) Cafe

We got inside after waiting for about an hour. The cafe was very roomy and only had about 40 seats. They could definitely fit 20 more seats if they wanted. But once you sit down, you’ll know why they keep it that way. As you can see in the photos (you can take photos in the cafe), it’s so spacious and peaceful you feel very relaxed. Also the waiters and waitresses can pay more attention to each customer.

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So bright and spacious.

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Every little thing was custom made.

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This is where we sat.

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Look at the cute teapot!

We sat on the counter and ordered our food. The pâtissière in front of us was making a cappuccino. When she was done, she carefully drew something on the foam of milk with melted chocolate. I asked her if I could take a photo of it. She smiled and carefully turned the cup around so I could take a photo. It was a drawing of a straw hat!

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This is art!

Straw Hat Cafe, at the Ghibli museum, Mitaka, Tokyo
I drank: Red wine from Koshu (650 yen)
Derek drank: Freshly squeezed orange juice with a real natural straw! (500 yen)
I ate: Gratin soup (900 yen)
Derek ate: Pork cutlet curry (1200 yen)
My Dessert: Pumpkin chiffon cake (600 yen)
Derek’s Dessert: Chocolate Crumble cake (580 yen)

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Red wine from Koshu (650 yen) and freshly squeezed orange juice (500 yen)

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The straw was actually a natural straw!

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Gratin soup (900 yen) It had a nice big potato inside.

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Pork cutlet curry (1200 yen) I took the flag home, of course.

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The rice had many different kinds of grain.

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Doesn't it make you want to lick the plate?

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Super spongy pumpkin chiffon cake (600 yen)

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Very crumbly, but not too sweet, crumble cake (580 yen)

After lunch we wandered around the museum some more. We went in the rooms where they recreated the workplace at Ghibli studio. Each room was very well decorated in such details.

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Outside the Ghibli museum

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Kodama and Shishigami stained-glass from the outside

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Makkurokurosuke!

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Courtyard at the museum

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The water pump in the courtyard

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The water pump in the courtyard

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Smiiling manhole in the courtyard

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Outside the Ghibli museum

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Flag at the Ghibli museum

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He scares the crap out of me.

We probably spend the most time in the dark room on the first floor. There were various exhibits about how a film gets animated, and our most favorite thing (because we couldn’t play on the Cat Bus…) was definitely the giant zoetrope. We sat in front of it, and watched it go around over and over and over until closing time.

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Before we left, we stopped by at the fake entrance to say good bye to Totoro.

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What is he thinking? No one knows.

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I like his long claws. Reminded me of when Satsuki meets Totoro.

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The wrought iron gate of the museum.

There’s an official DVD for the Ghibli Museum if you really want to take a look inside the museum. But I think everyone should go to the Ghibli museum!

Also GhibliWorld.com explains the awesomeness of the Ghibli museum in details, so check out the page about the Ghibli museum on their site!

It was still a bit too early to go home, so we went to Akihabara. We were just going to walk around in Akihabara and take some photos but I had to take Derek to Kotobukiya on the first floor of Radio Center first, because they carried official Studio Ghibli stuff! After a lot of Ooooh’s and Awwww’s we got some stuff there, we went into some buildings including Gamers (game, anime, manga store), a retro game store Super Potato, and a gigantic discount store Donki ho-te (Don Quixote).

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Walls of colorful cellphones in Akihabara

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Gamers

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Building in Akihabara

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"Give yourself to... docomo?" Yes, Dark Vader was promoting a cellphone company.

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Super Potato in Akihabara

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Derek's such a Virtual Boy.

We left Akihabara around 8:00 and headed back to eat dinner with my brother and his friends. We met up with them by Nerima station and where did we go? The same Thai izakaya place we went on the first night! We had Pad Thai and Pad See Ew, which were delicious.

Thai izakaya Hyoutan, Nerima, Tokyo
I ate: Pad See Ew
Derek ate: Pad Thai

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Pad See Ew at Hyoutan

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Authentic Pad Thai at Hyoutan

The funny thing was that when I told my brother and his friends that Derek proposed that day, their initial response was “Oh really? That’s nice.” And the night went on, and my brother asked me “So what are you going to say?” So I said “I said yes, of course.” And he went “Oooh! Congratulations!!” Then I realized that in Japan, sometimes women say they’ll “think about it” when they’re proposed to and that doesn’t mean “no.” I told them that anything but “yes” is pretty much “no” in the U.S., and they finally understood what “being proposed to” meant in the U.S. Also maybe a ring isn’t required for a proposal? No one really asked me to show them the ring. Derek and I thought it was very funny and interesting.

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Group shot!

My brother’s friends were hilarious. Derek and one of them (he’s a ramen expert) talked about Totoro and how brilliantly the film is made, and the other friend made us laugh by doing an impersonation of Robert DeNiro.

We had planned on going to Tsukiji fish market the next day with my friend whom I went to school with in NYC, so we went home around midnight.

So many wonderful things happened this day. It was almost too perfect I felt like I was dreaming when I went to bed. I want to thank Derek for making me so happy! I love you!!

Continued to day 4 part 1…

We have over 4000 photos from this trip and there’s no way I can post them all on my blog. So I’m uploading photos from our trip to flickr as I write a post for each day. If you’d like to check out random photos from Japan or us goofing around in Japan, check out my flickr collection by clicking the link below!

Japan 2010: the most awesome trip ever!

** The comments have been very buggy on wordpress, and sometimes it won’t let you leave a comment. If that happens, please email me at annathered[at]gmail.com! **

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

SamNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 1:07 am

CONGRATULATIONS! That sounds like the most magical proposal ever. It made me tear up! Your ring is soooo pretty (I even went to look at the large size of your photo and then googled it. Heehee). Thank you for the wonderful pictures of the Ghibli Museum! So wonderful, I can’t wait until I have the time and money to go see for myself!

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NikkiNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 1:25 am

Congratulations on your engagement!! I love your blog! :)

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JasjaNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 5:02 am

Congratulations. What an awesome place to propose!

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JayNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 6:02 am

Congratulations! I enjoy your entries immensely!

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Mr KikiNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 6:26 am

Wow, congratulations! Didn’t see that coming. I actually cried a little, lol. What a brilliant day. :)

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Jonathan DayNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 8:09 am

Congratulations!! I gasped out loud when I read that he pulled out a ring in front of the Laputa Robot. It has to be one of the sweetest proposals I’ve ever heard of! Congratulations once again, and I wish you the best of luck in the future together. I am loving the Japan blogs, keep them up because they’re awesome!

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xuan-erNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

oooooo……おめてとう。。。congrats! =) and what a memorable proposal…

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Jessi @ Quirky CookeryNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 9:41 am

Ahhh!! That’s so exciting! Congratulations! <3

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ChrisNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

Wow, and that was only the 3rd day! Congratulations!

When we visited a couple years ago, there were hardly any people in the museum. It was even a little difficult to find from the Mitaka station. We had to ask a station employee where the museum was and even that was an ordeal.

I mistakenly asked, in my broken high school Japanese, where “Jib-li” was. After a few rounds of blank stares, I said “Gi-bu-ri” and a wave of understanding washed over the both of us, but he still didn’t know the directions. At least he knew what we wanted now. So he led us through a bunch of winding corridors to the other end of the station to someone who knew the area a little better. The other guy was a little disappointed we didn’t know Japanese, but he pulled out a map, drew the path, and we were on our way.

We didn’t know about the bus to the museum, so we walked the whole way….which isn’t that far really. And the area is very pretty with lots of parks and greenery. We also found a happy pancake sandwich place on our walk back to the train:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yings_alter_ego/496631602/in/set-72157600210811265/

We also ended up in Akihabara that same day and had dinner at Pepper Lunch:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yings_alter_ego/496708339/in/set-72157600210811265/

We needed a little instruction at first, but everyone was helpful as usual. Can’t wait to read about the rest of the trip, especially outside of Tokyo. We were only there for 5 days, so we limited our time to that area.

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AnnaTheRedNo Gravatar November 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I wrote a post thanking everyone for such kind words, but I still wanted to say how grateful we are!

Thank you so much!!

Chris, seems like you had a great time in Japan too! Ah Pepper Lunch! I’ve heard how awesome the place is. Every year, during Tokyo Anime Festival and Tokyo Game Show, the attendees (like the staff at the Behemoth) talk on Ustream about getting lunch from Pepper Lunch. I’ll make sure to eat Pepper Lunch the next time I go there!

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EsterNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Congratulations, I hope you will be very happy.

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HeidiNo Gravatar November 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm

What a great boyfriend now fiancée that knew just the perfect moment to propose to you! I just think that’s so wonderful for you guys!

I have to also mention, that Pad See Ew and Pad Thia look just like the dishes at my favorite Thia restaurant! I think I’ll have to give them a visit this week. :)

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AthenaNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 1:11 am

That’s so awesome that he picked such a great moment–it really makes the trip that much more special and AWESOME! =D Congratulations! We’re alll cheering for you two!

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JudithNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 2:07 am

Aw congratulations!!!

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FaithNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 3:54 am

Omedetou gozaimasu! (Is that right? ;p)

Loving reading about your Japan trip. Looking forward to reading your posts about the rest of your trip. Wish I could afford to visit Japan soon. :D

~Faith
a.k.a. magnifique_f8h on Flickr

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NoveiMCNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 4:38 am

Congrats!!! I know how it feels to be proposed in a place that’s important for us, and I had tears in my eyes reading your story…
Seeing your photos and reading your blog makes me even more wanting to go to Japan…

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SteffieNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

Aww, what a great proposal! Congratulations. :D I visited the Ghibli Museum with my honey during our big Japan trip in 2008 and agree that it’s a must-visit for anyone in the Tokyo area. So magical! I wish we could’ve seen Mei and the Kitten Bus. But Koro’s Big Walk was great, too.

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punkrawkknitterNo Gravatar November 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Congratulations! I think all women should have a “I’ll think about it” option when they get proposed to, but it’s super awesome your fiance proposed in such a special place. I really like the Totoro plate the curry katsu came on.

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JessNo Gravatar November 23, 2010 at 3:00 am

I’m a bit late but congratulations! Getting proposed to at Ghibli is definitely sweet. The museum itself is a recreation of fantasy, pika pika magic and warmth. Looking at your pictures really makes me nostalgic ;_; anyhow, I’ll continue to follow your blog! ご結婚はおめでとうございます!

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SofiNo Gravatar April 9, 2011 at 1:21 am

I arrived at your page looking for answers for the Kiki not being able to talk to Jiji mystery, and I just could not leave without congratulating you and telling you how incredible I found that magical proposal! It must have been like a dream! Just reading it gave me the goosebumps!
By the way, I loved your page, I will return and check it again!!
Best regards from Argentina :D

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